Protecting the public purse

Information and analysis

Our work in information and analysis

The Audit Commission works with local authorities and their partners to improve services for local people.

National briefings and reports

We continue to produce briefings and reports which are useful to auditors and which capture key messages from the Commission’s research.

In the past we published major national reports on a wide range of issues. These reports were based on independent, authoritative analysis of national evidence and local practice and helped to improve the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of local public services.

You can access the reports we published in the last three years from this website. Earlier reports are available in our archive.

Performance information

We provide analysis and improvement tools to help local public services measure, compare and improve their performance and costs. These include:

Performance information tools we previously produced and data we used to collect are available in our archive.


The Audit Commission: A risk-based approach to auditing procurement in English councils is a presentation given by Mark Wardman, a public policy researcher by profession, he is a senior manager at the Audit Commission. The presentation draws on his submission to, and appearance before, a Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government procurement. The presentation provides an overview of how well local authorities buy goods and services.

Mr Wardman examines how efficiently and cost-effectively they buy goods and services, referencing a range of data analysed by the Commission, to address one of the Select Committee’s questions: Are there opportunities for further savings to the public purse from procurement?

Corporate Governance Inspection (CGI)

Where serious concerns exist about a council’s service or corporate failure the Secretary of State has power under Section 10 of the Local Government Act 1999 to ask the Audit Commission to carry out a CGI. There have been two CGI’s since 2008.

Health Payment by Results (PbR)

PbR aims to support NHS modernisation by paying hospitals for the work they do, rewarding efficiency and quality. It also carries risks that need to be managed effectively both locally and nationally.

Since 2007 the Audit Commission has delivered a programme of data assurance audits on the data that supports the payments made under PbR.

Health National Benchmarker

The Audit Commission has also developed the award winning National Benchmarker which allows primary care trusts and trusts to review and identify not only data quality issues but also to review efficiency and productivity.

Work we used to do

For information about what we used to do and to access our past studies, reports and tools, please see our archived website.

Mental health benchmarking club

The very successful Mental Health Benchmarking Club will continue with the support of NHS Benchmarking. Further information can be obtained from the NHS Benchmarking website (external link). If you would like copies of reports and for any other queries please contact Steve Watkins on 0161 266 1051 or